Greyhound patrons wait for buses in the former Baker Street location of the depot in 1952. Photo courtesy of Touchstones Nelson

YEAR IN REVIEW: Greyhound departs Nelson

Our No. 5 story of 2018

Eighty-nine years of Greyhound service through Nelson ended in October.

The last Greyhound bus left Nelson on Oct. 27, four days before the service was permanently shut down in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and all but one B.C. route.

Greyhound Canada got its start in the Kootenays as a bus line run by Johnny Learmonth in the 1920s before it was bought and incorporated as Canadian Greyhound Coaches in 1929. It began running daily trips from Nelson to Calgary in 1931.

“I can’t think of a business that started in Nelson that has touched more people than Greyhound Canada,” said Touchstones Nelson collections manager Jean-Philippe Stienne.

In February, the Passenger Transportation Board ruled Greyhound could cut several routes throughout B.C., including the route through Nelson, to four trips per week. Prior to that, buses ran east and west through Nelson twice a day, seven days a week.

That turned out to be a step toward complete closure.

The company announced in July it was scrapping passenger and freight delivery services altogether because of a 41 per cent decline in national ridership since 2010.

The loss of Greyhound has left many residents and businesses in need of alternate transportation options.

Phil Mader, 69, said he was relying on Greyhound to see a doctor in Kelowna about his failing liver.

“It’s not such a big thing if it’s for going to Kelowna for a basketball game, but when it comes to an urgent medical appointment or surgery and you don’t have a car, it has consequences,” said Mader.

Although the depot was scheduled to close Oct. 31, Greyhound opted instead to close down Nelson’s route four days early.

Gloria Clark, who ran the Nelson and Creston depots for a decade, criticized the company for not notifying its customers ahead of time about the change.

When the Star visited the depot to speak with Clark, she was trying to help a woman who had pre-booked a trip only to find out Greyhound no longer existed.

“I think what was inefficient was [not] contacting the customers who pre-book — and many do now, especially seniors, because you get a better ticket price,” said Clark.

Bus service stills exists for residents, albeit on a much smaller scale. The same week Greyhound shut down, Silver City Stage Lines began roundtrip operations from Nelson to Kelowna from Sunday to Friday.

Related:

Greyhound bus service closes in Nelson

Touchstones museum receives Greyhound memorabilia

Uncertainty on Greyhound cuts leaves residents in the dark



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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